Arizona introduced House Bill 2724 prohibiting local governments from imposing distance requirements between assisted living homes. This bill follows recent HUD enforcement actions under the Fair Housing Act against Arizona cities, as well as comments from the U.S. Department of Justice in other states indicating the ADA and court directives requiring state and local governments to make services available to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, regardless of age or type of disability.
Since its introduction by Arizona Representative Ben Toma, H.B. 2724 has been watered down to not prohibit distancing requirements, but rather to require local governments to establish procedures that assisted living homes can use to request reasonable accommodation to any spacing requirement. While RALNA prefers the original bill, the law firm for social security disability charges stated that the current version still represents forward movement toward the goal of giving Arizonans with disabilities a meaningful choice to receive the services they need in their own communities.
“We are very happy to see Arizona taking action to reinforce local governments’ fair housing obligations to prohibit discrimination against disabled people through “distance restrictions” that limit where disabled people can live. People with disabilities are too often segregated to large institutions, and away from community life. Arizona H.B. 2724 makes it clear that local governments must provide reasonable accommodation consistent with federal law to assisted living homes in community settings.” Brian Pinkowski, President, Residential Assisted Living National Association.
The bill is moving quickly through the legislature, having passed the House and the first reading in the Senate.
“Each step to combat discrimination against people with disabilities is a step toward making stronger and more integrated and caring communities,” said Brian Pinkowski.
The Residential Assisted Living National Association provides education and advocacy for more than 30,000 residential assisted living providers.